New Vote Centers Open This Weekend, But Most Angelenos Have No Idea
Election “Day” is so 2016. Californians have been voting by mail since the beginning of this month, and in L.A. and Orange Counties, voting in-person starts Saturday morning, when the first round of centralized “vote centers” will open.
Let’s recap the changes for WHERE to vote:
- Most neighborhood polling places are going away, so your old voting spot may no longer be there. Instead, you’ll probably have to travel a bit farther to a new vote center.
The first group of these centers is open for 11 days beginning this weekend. The rest open on Feb. 29th, through election day.
- You can go to any location in the county where you’re registered -- and you don’t need to bring a mail-in ballot to surrender if you decide to vote in-person.
HOW to vote is also different in 2020:
In L.A. County, most in-person voters will use a new ballot marking machine that prints a paper ballot. If you’d rather vote on paper at your kitchen table, you have until Tuesday, Feb. 25 to request a vote-by-mail ballot.
- At Orange County vote centers, voters will have the choice of hand-marking a paper ballot or using a ballot marking machine.
WILL THESE CHANGES LEAVE SOME VOTERS BEHIND?
New research is painting a troubling picture about whether Angelenos know about the new vote centers, spelled out in a 2016 law called the Voter’s Choice Act.
On Thursday, the USC Price-Schwarzenegger Institute published results from its California Issues Poll showing just over 37% of likely voters in the 15 counties implementing Voter’s Choice Act changes in 2020 were aware that where and how to cast ballots was changing.
In Los Angeles, 62.2% either didn’t know about the changes or couldn’t answer the question. In contrast, over half of respondents (51%) in Orange County knew about the changes.